We’ve been conditioned to include 404 error pages on all our websites. But is it necessary? I’ve got a friend who says no.
This friend of mine has been a friend for awhile now. He’s also an search engine optimization expert who’s been doing business online, I think, since before the Arpanet. He probably knows which end is up. At any rate, this friend - I’ll call him Al Gore (but it’s not really Al Gore, you see) - doesn’t use 404 error pages. He redirects his visitors to his blog instead. What that means is any time a visitor types in an URL or lands on a page that would ordinarily produce a 404 error page, they automatically land on his blog. I thought that was pretty creative. The
advantages to doing it this way are:
* Fewer disgruntled visitors leaving your site
* Less confusion about “Which link should I click?”
* You don’t have to build a 404 error page with links to your important pages so that your visitors know what to do
* You might get more regular readers of your blog
* Site visitors will have something interesting to read even if they don’t find what they’re looking for 404 error pages aren’t bad, but in this day of endless blogs, people would rather read your 300 word blog post than your 300 word sorry-you-didn’t-find-what-you-were-looking-for message. Just a little tip from Al Gore